The men’s basketball season is heating up in the state of Utah. BYU is fighting for an at-large NCAA bid, but needs to win the WCC tournament for entry. Weber State and Utah State also need to win if they want a post-season birth. Utah is fighting out of the PAC-12 cellar.
This week brings the bracket-ology challenge put on by ESPN. The final year of this made-for-TV event pits mid-major conferences against each other in an attempt to boost the Ratings Percentage Indices (RPIs) of the lower-tiered conferences. As a result, both Utah State and Weber State have very light schedules in the upcoming week.
After tonight’s rematch of the early season classic against Saint Mary’s, BYU will take a week off before facing its biggest challenge at home against Gonzaga.
Utah hosts rival Colorado tonight before taking a week off.
College fans in the state will need to look elsewhere to root for their teams this weekend. Fortunately, baseball and softball officially kicked off last weekend, and this week will see each school in tough matchups.
BYU will have the most difficult challenge. The Cougars travel to Baton Rouge, La. for a weekend tournament against Southeastern Louisiana (3-0) and second-ranked LSU. The four-game series will see two against each team, starting tonight with LSU and finishing with a doubleheader on Saturday.
The weekend presents a huge opportunity for the Cougars (2-2) who played well last week in Lubbock, Texas. Box Stadium is considered one of the premier baseball stadiums in the NCAA, and if the Cougars can get past the grandeur of the moment, they can put a scare in the Tigers. All games will be available at byucougars.com.
They will continue their opening road trip the following week, traveling to Seattle for two games before opening their home slate against Creighton Friday and Saturday.
Utah (1-2) started its season strong, winning the opener at Loyola Marymont 6-3, but dropping the next two games by a combined 12-2 score.
Utah also avoids the snow and opens its season on a long road trip. The Utes travel to UC Davis this weekend for a four-game set.
The UC Davis Aggies (3-1) will be hosting its second PAC-12 school of the young season. Last week, the Aggies took three games from Washington, the lone loss coming at 3-2 in seven innings. UC Davis is only picked to finish ninth in the Big West, but showed they are a better team than expected.
Utah will travel the following week to Minnesota for a weekend classic at the Metrodome, the former home of the Minnesota Twins. The Utes will play against Northern Illinois, Minnesota and Dartmouth. They will open their home season March 15 when they host California for a three-game series.